"When you come to where you're broken within, the light meets the dark." - Tenth Avenue North, Healing Begins Having heard that song over and over again, it took me a long time to really get it; to understand what that line above meant. The light can't meet the dark until you are completely broken. Your heart has to be torn to shred before the light can rush in and banish the darkness.
One day I was driving and listening to that song; and suddenly, it hit me. That is what happened to me. I had to be completely broken, the pieces scattered throughout the darkness in my spirit. It the midst of my brokenness, the light flooded in. And the healing began.
Just over a year ago, I ended an affair that had spanned seven years.
And I thought I was happy. Really happy. I thought that for the first time in my life, I understood real happiness.
But deep within was a turmoil of emotions. My heart was broken. I felt worthless and alone. I hated myself and everything I had done. And yet, I put on a smile and fooled myself into believing the lies.
When I knew the affair was going to end, I felt devastated. I wept in the arms of the other man. I didn't know how I would live without him. Right or wrong, it is how I felt at the time. I felt like I was losing a part of who I was. I had wrapped my life and emotions around this man for seven years and it was not easy to see all that we had slipping away. No. More than slipping away. It was a severance. It was the only way. We couldn't talk anymore. We couldn't email or text. We couldn't just be friends.
That day we last spoke, one of the things we talked about was music. We had always connected in this way, and so it seemed appropriate to talk about a topic that had drawn us in. We talked about all the music we had begun listening to; songs that spoke of forgiveness for our sins, and God's love. And we talked about the love we were giving up, in order to make our marriages work.
One song in particular I had just heard. It was a song that would follow me into the healing and restoration of my marriage. A song that, in the beginning, made me weep because I knew something I loved was being ripped away from me. Now, the song brings tears of joy for the understanding I have of God's love and forgiveness. Tears of healing and peace and gratefulness for what God has done in my marriage, and in my heart.
You see, while the affair made me feel alive, I wasn't. It made me feel like I could do anything, be anyone. And yet, it was killing me. It stripped away anything truly good, and to the depth of my soul, I was dying. I knew it, too. I wouldn't have admitted it, at the time. But I knew. Deep down, where no one could see, I knew I was dead inside. I knew that the happiness I projected to everyone around me (myself included!) was just a mask. It was hiding the darkness. And the shame.
You see, that's the thing about the darkness. It lures you into believing things that aren't true.
I believed that my marriage wasn't worth saving.
I believed that I didn't matter to my husband.
I believed that God couldn't forgive me for what I had done.
And, hear me now, I believed that I loved this other man.
I DID love him.
Because love IS NOT something you fall in and out of.
It's a choice.
Yeah yeah yeah...you've heard all that before.
Well, it bears repeating.
LOVE IS A CHOICE.
You choose to love, and you choose not to love. It is your responsibility. So even when you don't FEEL it, you can still love. I loved my husband and another man simultaneously. I felt nothing towards my husband and an intense desire to be with this other man, and still I loved my husband. Because it isn't a feeling.
There are so many hurting and broken people, and in the midst of a world full of broken marriages, people on both sides have "fallen out of love." It makes me shake my head. It makes me want to scream and exclaim "LOVE IS A CHOICE! Either choose to love or don't. But stop living as a result of your feelings!"
During the affair, I lived as a result of my feelings. I was driven by them. And all the while, I was learning how to die... Come back next week as I share what "Learning to Die" meant in my life and marriage.
These are some resources that will meet you where you are with the truth:
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